Disaster Trauma and Adolescents: Parental and Societal Influences on Adolescent Coping and Resilience

Within the past decade, the United States has faced numerous disasters, including the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and most recently, dealing with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in Haiti. While the immediate concerns after a catastrophe is search and rescue and providing for basic needs, a growing area of interest is how to meet the mental and emotional needs of those individuals and families directly and indirectly affected by disaster. Current research suggests that victims of natural and manmade disasters experience post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression. However, every person will react differently. Children and adolescents may react by radically changing their behavior, developing somatic complaints, or withdrawing from their social supports. Since the field of disaster trauma is still in its infancy, there are many opportunities for therapists, community organizations, and the government to promote growth in adolescents after a disaster.

Erin Lynn Kelly
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PDF icon Kelly MP 2010.pdf530.32 KB